In 1823 when the country was still healing from the wounds of the
Revolutionary War that resulted in the breaking away from the
tyranny of Great Britain, President James Monroe created what has
been called the "Monroe Doctrine." Simply stated, President Monroe
said in his seventh State of the Union address that the United
States would no longer allow European colonies to continue with the
practice of colonizing in America. Nor would any further European
influences be allowed to interfere with various states in the United
In 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt used the Monroe Doctrine to
define the natural consequence of that doctrine to extend it to
include Latin America. From the premise of his statement "Walk
softly, but carry a big stick," Roosevelt said: "If a nation shows
that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in
social and political matters, ... it need fear no interference from
the United States." He further added: "Chronic wrongdoing
... in the
Western Hemisphere ... may force the United States ... to the exercise
of an international police power."
Obviously, President Kennedy used
elements of the Monroe Doctrine and the "Roosevelt Doctrine" to
establish a blockade against the former Soviet Union from
establishing nuclear weapons in Cuba.
With the growth of communism after World War II and during the
Korean War, in 1947 President Harry Truman initiated the "Truman
Doctrine" in his promise to help countries with economic stability,
equipment and even military force for those who were threatened by
the spread of communism. If the country's citizens were resisting
the attempts of subjugation by communist pressure, the Truman
Doctrine established the containment policy to keep communism out of
In 1980 President Carter saw attempts by the Soviet Union to
consolidate strategic positions in the Middle East to capture the
world oil market. Because of the "vital interest of the United
States" in the Persian Gulf region, President Carter vowed to use
military force if necessary to protect American economic and
national interests in the Persian Gulf. Being a strong ally with
Israel, it was President Carter's efforts that brought about the
alliance between Egypt and Israel through the Camp David peace
From the 1980s until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the "Reagan
Doctrine" that was created by President Ronald Reagan moved from
simple containment of communism to actually providing military and
financial support to guerilla forces to actually fight the threat of
communist takeover of a government. President Reagan believed in a
strong national defense by ensuring a strong military, and he thought
weaknesses perceived by enemies were motivation for them to be
emboldened to attack the United States.
President George W. Bush developed a "doctrine" as a result of the
events on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists slammed commercial jetliners
into the twin towers, Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania. The
heart of his doctrine consisted of his belief that those countries
who harbored terrorists and trained in terrorism to attack others
around the world should be treated as actual terrorists themselves.
This added the component of "prevention" to the doctrines that have
survived past presidential administrations. The "Bush Doctrine"
consists of a series of policies meant to keep American citizens
safe from terrorists.
Now, with the advent of the current president's first inauguration, a
new "doctrine" was implemented. It began with announcements to the
enemies against whom we were waging war being told of the future
date of withdrawal of American forces so the enemy could prepare
their own combatants during their wait for the Americans to leave.
It then moved on to a world apology tour where the president went
around the world apologizing for America to those who sought to
destroy America. To put the exclamation point on the new "Obama
Doctrine," the president punctuated his meetings with Middle Eastern
leaders with a waist-deep bow. Not to be misunderstood by the
leaders harboring those training in terrorist camps, the president
began to move away from the only democracy in the Middle East:
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With the new "Obama Doctrine" firmly in place, the Iranians now had
almost four more years of advancement in building nuclear weapons and
delivery systems of those weapons. The "Arab Spring"
resulted in a destabilization of the region, with Muslim Brotherhood
leaders in Egypt and thousands of civilian citizens killed in Syria.
The relationship between Russia and the United States sunk to, and
continues at, a low ebb while the Russian president waited for
the U.S. president to be re-elected so he could "have more
flexibility" to work with the Russian government. This new
presidential doctrine represented a new chapter in presidential
doctrines. Take a look at one outcome with the new doctrine:
In my lifetime, especially when mass media came to the fore with
television, if any attack on an American consulate or embassy
occurred that resulted in American lives being lost, it would have
been the top discussion in the administration and Congress.
There would have been "measured" responses applied to responsible
groups and a concerted voice of condemnation of the act. Instead,
with the terrorist attack in Libya resulting in a murdered
ambassador and three other Americans, it was initially covered by the
administration by having the blame placed squarely on some short
video aired on YouTube that began playing back in the previous July.
The result of that "doctrine" only seemed to embolden others in
the area to raise up riots against 22 other consulates and
embassies in the region.
At the time of the attack, the president, instead of rushing back to
the White House and meeting with his national security team to
discuss options and draw the curtain of protection around the other
embassies and consulates in Northern Africa and the Middle East,
flew off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser. Some of his subsequent
discussion was presented to the American people via a late-night
talk show and a discussion group on the daytime television program
"The View." Even a month later, the administration and the State
Department seemed to be at odds in statements about the entire
incident. Although, in 2014 we learned that top Pentagon brass and
the secretary of defense learned of the attack and told the
president within the hour what was happening.
If this is a strategy the administration is using to demonstrate to
the rest of the world that America is changing its foreign policy
from a position of strength with immediate consequences for
terrorist attacks to a position of tolerance and quiet, apologetic
humility resulting in covering up the attack with diversion, and
apologizing for America's actions, it seems to be working. Not to
America's advantage, but the emboldened positions of the radicals
who are watching.
Of course we now have sufficient proof this new doctrine established
by the president has created difficulty in America's foreign policy.
Without running through the exhaustive list, let just a few
reminders suffice. Aside from the attack on the Benghazi consulate that has never been
fully investigated by the administration beyond their apparent
attempts to cover it up, there are other issues. The Arab Spring
turned to Arab Winter. Of course who could forget the presidential
debacle of off again, on again and then off again for the raid on Syria
that ended with the president having to be pulled from total
disgrace by the Russian president.
In summary, the past five years of the president's doctrine with
foreign policy have weakened the relationship between Israel and the
United States, and it couldn't be more frosty; the Middle East in
general is in shambles; al-Qaida is being re-established in Iraq
with no American contingency remaining to provide presence for an
ally; Egypt continues the process of breakdown; Iran has
successfully shed the economic sanctions and brags about it; Russia
and her president have gained powerful diplomatic prestige around the
world; the friends to the north, Canada, are soon to turn to China
to sell their oil, having been driven away from the United States
through the president's total disregard for energy independence in
favor of his embargo on energy. These are just some of the
consequences of the president's new doctrine.
Looking at other presidents from history and the doctrines they
formed, is there anyone who believes the current presidential
doctrine has its anchor in American exceptionalism?
[By JIM KILLEBREW]
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